Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Time for a photo

The tomb of Roy from Dra Abu Naga, my favourite tomb

Hidden Thebes – Ted Brock

Mummification Museum lecture 20th Dec 2008
Hidden Thebes – Ted Brock
Lost and Unknown Monuments Outside Karnak Temple

Ted was on two projects which revealed hidden parts of Karnak. The first was a sewage project and the second the dewatering. Both these projects involved doffing down into the foundations of Luxor he dug test pits along the line of the proposed work and then during the actual work. Both of these revealed that what we call Karnak is only a part of the Middle Kingdom, New kingdom and Late Period complex.

Three projects have resulted in objects and monuments being found.
The sewage project to provide Luxor with a sewage system
The Chevier ditch. This was an early project to remove water from Karnak. It was not affective but they are hopeful will be much better. Removing the water is dealing with the symptoms not the cause which is the increased agricultural activity. This has resulted from the constant water supply from the Aswan dam allowing farmers to have 2 or 3 crops a year. They flood irrigate the fields and the water table has risen as a result.
The new dewatering project.

During these projects various elements of Karnak

East Karnak in front of the 1st pylon
There are various unknown monuments outside Karnak. The enclosure walls created in the 30th dynasty by the Ptolemy’s give you a false impression of the area. Before this various monuments were scattered all over the Karnak area.
In the south east there is a mound which is the foundation of an offering chapel. Temple C east of Karnak which is connected to Khonsu. The stele of the princess sending the healing statue. Redford discovered a new chapel of Osiris. West inside the enclosure wall only foundations remain. West of Montu temple there is a chapel to Osiris.
The village of Bahawa there is an extension of the sphinx avenue which extended as far as the Nile. Remains of gateway of Ptolemy XII the father of Cleopatra VII

The Akhenaton temple was discovered by Chevrier who found many statues. Redford has continued excavation for 15-20 years and delineated the west part of the temple. Gem Pa Aten. During the sewage project they dug test pits but could not find anything in the expected place. But the excavation itself they found the north and east walls. The east wall was very significant and gave them dimensions and it was 200 sq meters. Almost as large as the Amun complex. After Akhenaton they dug out the temple to its very foundations and reused the blocks in the building of the late 18 dynasty pylons.

Their trench went through the north wall and either side there are loads of blocks, statue pieces, which they could not investigate. They also found offering tables with names of Akhenaton and Nefertiti show the name change from Amenhotep.

They found rows of storage jars below the foundations the purpose of which of which is unknown. Ted’s theory that these were temporary walls (a bit like sand bags).

The East wall has foundations of reused pillars, statues, parts of the colossal statues, lots of knee caps. They also found sphinx pieces; beard with blue pigment, the bases of the statues has bound foreign captives going against the view of Akhenaton as a pacifist pharaoh.

Due east of the Mut temple found reused 25th dynasty material in Persian period monuments, column fragments. In the south east there was a large late period stone wall with reused blocks and statues. An Osiris figure of Amenhotep III probably from the statue from a ram head sphinx and a possible XII dynasty stele

At south el Baharwah there is a Ptolemy dedicated to Khonsu Waset Neferhotep

So it seems that north Karnak had Osiris and east had Khonsu

They found some uraeii that might have come from a lintel and the top of a screen wall

Malqata north Karnak
Columns and door jambs of Nitocris, an Osiris Parmares temple, within the village columns of a colonnade from 25th dynasty God’s wives of Amun Shepenwepet II. A Hathor capital

In the north west by the Thoth gate there is a Ptolemaic temple Lepsus designated it temple F. They found a block with gilded decoration. The SCA found more blocks when creating a wall. The Thoth gateway had columns and screen wall of Ptolemy IV.

The conclusion is that there is a huge potential of future work. When doing his various projects they have left signposts for the archaeologists of the future to investigate.

Next lecture 3rd January TT120 Layla Pinch

Monday, 22 December 2008

Nefertari ; QV66 ; from Osirisnet

Nefertari ; QV66 ; Luxor ; Thebes ; Egyptian tomb

Currently Nefertari's tomb is closed except to special groups paying very special prices $5,000!!!! But you can still visit courtsey of osirisnet. They have just put up this virtual tour of the tomb and it is really good.

Mummfication Museum lecture - Luxor After the Pharoahs

Luxor after Pharaohs Michael Jones, Luigi De Cescires 13/12/8
An ARCE project in collaboration with the SCA and funded by USAID

In today’s archaeological world projects are multi discipline so a report has to be as well. Michael Jones will set the archaeological context for the conservation work Luigi will talk about.

Archaeology is about managing change up until modern times where the temple is a modern landscape. From Tutmosis III, Tutankhamen, Ramses II, Nectanebo in Pharaonic times through to its condition during Napoleons’ time.

Some old slides showed how the temple was part of a living breathing Luxor. There were pigeon houses in front of the obelisks and it was surrounded by ancient settlement. There were houses on top of the roofed section on the Amenhotep III temple. It became overcome by settlement.

In 1881 the temple was cleared in a project funded by international public subscription. You can trace the height of the debris by the dates of the graffiti.

By 1933 it had become the triangular shaped area we know today and there was a beginning to understand the Roman remains on the site. In front of the temple was the house of the descendents of Abu Hagag which was difficult to remove but by the 1950’s the sphinx avenue was found and the cleared the front of the East pylon.

The North Colonnade of Amenhotep III sun court was taken away by the Romans. Many statues were taken away by the Romans to decorate their houses and this explains a column base found by Howard Carter in 1902. There is a line through the temple which lines up with MacDonald’s, which was created by the Romans.

They installed an arch in pylon 2 and the very beginning of it can still be seen on the side of the pylon. There are bullet holes where tourists used to practise their shooting. Clearance of the temple revealed that the floor consisted of column drums which had altered the floor level necessitating the provision of steps. There was a shelf in the apse. In 1960 a doorway was put in through the apse to save the tourists having to walk round to the areas at the back.

In 1856 Wilkinson draw a series of pictures which included a portrayal of horses on the Roman fresco inside the apse. The room was filled with debris so the lower part was not recorded. These paintings are useful but not accurate.

The 4 figures in the Apse are the four tetrarchs Diocletian and Maximian, Constantius and Galerius At this stage the Roman Empire had been divided into East and West and each had two emperors. After Diocletian abdicated in 305AD Constantius was proclaimed Augustus and eventually became sole ruler. There was a statue base inscribed for Constantine. During the making of the Corniche there was a huge loss of archaeological material as debris was just shoved into the making of the bank. (One wonders if in 50 years archaeologists will be making the same remarks about Gurna)

Underneath the mosque there is a church.

The fortress is often portrayed as a rectangle that has lost its south west corner but Napoleon showed that part as having ramps like those newly discovered at Karnak so it might well have been an ancient quay. The fortress might well have been out of line like the old Cairo fortress.

The Luxor temple today is suffering from traffic the cruise boats and the raised humidity. From the 1980’s until now there has been a big deteriation in its condition. There was a big credit given to Chicago House for the work they have done there.

Luigi’s have of the lecture was quite technical and for fear of making mistakes and leading some other conservator astray I will confine myself to a few highlights.

They had to conserve the plaster as well as clean the paint
Trial cleanings were undertaken
It was a big chance to study the frescos
Previous conservation had to be removed
Maximian’s face was erased almost as soon as it was painted and there are only 3 out of 4 heads of the tetrarchs
Had to use abrasive to remove guano deposits
In some places 95% of the paint layer has been lost
Wilkinson’s work shows mistakes like horses and there is not a laurel in his hands, so can’t be relied on. The West wall has gone completely
Documentation is an important part of their work. Need to have a diary as some parts could not be deciphered prior to cleaning so could not be drawn
There was a need for emergency restoration before the project started
The Romans closed the door way with reused blocks and from the marks they can work out what tools were used
Had to work out how many layers and the fresco composition
They worked out the drawing layer and found string whipping used in preparation. They can see the details of the brush marks made in the wet plaster.
Details like the embroidery on the shoulder pads was added later
When conserving they must make sure the wet does not penetrate too far into the plaster
A mechanical method is often the best for removing the salts. They restore pigment colours by removing the glaring white of the plaster with aqua spoca
They are training Egyptian staff
Need protect the surface after cleaning

Next Week Hidden Thebes Ted Brock

No Internet in Egypt for 3 days

Did you miss me, I missed you. It is at times like this you realise how much you are reliant on the internet. Apparently 3 out of the 4 cables connecting Egypt with Europe were broken so loads of the Mid, Far East and Africa were affected. Although the break has not been repaired they have managed to reroute the traffic and Egypt is back 85%. thank heavens. I was getting withdrawal symptoms

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Cairo Eyes-Cairo Egypt.

Cairo Eyes-Cairo Egypt.
My man in Cairo has changed his website address. I have worked with him for 5 years and he is totally honest and reliable so for all your Cairo needs, speak to Waleed

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Egypt for Children

Coming to Egypt with kids I recommend this book http://www.amazon.co.uk/Egyptian-Echo-Newspaper-History/dp/0746027516

Travelling outside the convoy

As you know the convoy system stopped in Upper Egypt on 1st December so what is it like now. Well I have had 2 trips outside the convoy, one to Abydos and one on the road to Aswan. So what are the differences.

You can leave when you want. We started to Abydos at 6:30 so we arrived when it was cool. (In the summer I would suggest leaving seriously early.) We were able to stop on the way to go to the toilet. We spent as long as we wanted at the site, had lunch in the little café which was really nice and didn’t have to visit Dendara which I always found a disappointment after Abydos. Much nicer to visit on its own and using the Lotus boat. We actually spent about 5 hours there.

Going to Moalla (Ankhtifi) and El Kab on the road to Aswan. Well first we were able to do so without having to wait for another convoy to leave the site. I like Ankhtifi but would not want to spend 6 hours there. In the old days we would have been able to do either Moalla or El Kab but not both. Again we left Luxor when we wanted, stayed as long as we wanted and on the way back we stopped at this little café and had lunch. I don’t think they had ever had a tourist there before. They charged us 5LE for a lunch of bread, foul, cheese and tomatoes for 2!!!!! We did stop at the old enforced stopping place on the way there but actually that was more pleasant because we weren’t in a rush so were able to have more of a laugh with the salesmen.

I felt safer as we were not racing along like wacky races and anyway if a terrorist seriously wanted to attack tourists it is much more difficult when they are not gathered together in a large group at exactly the same time each day. I never quite got the hang of why that was safer. It was relaxing and more interesting because you could stop and see the local life, if you wanted.

Altogether a safer, much more interesting, more comfortable and relaxing trip. Hurrah for the end of the convoys

Certificate of Continuing Education in Egyptology

Quite a few people have asked me about the course I am doing, it is a 4 year course with Manchester University and COMPLETELY online which is fabulous for me living in Egypt. There are people from all over the world on it. My tutor is Joyce Tyldesley (how cool is that). There is a discussion forum where you post your topic work as well as chat to other students. You get topics released every month with links to good internet sites and museums. There are essays to do, quizzes and of course topic work and a reading list as long as your arm. I am really enjoying it and it is really opening up my eyes to how out of date and incomplete my knowledge is (is that good or bad lol). You get access to Jstor. You had to answer a couple of questions on the application form and it was nerve wracking waiting to hear if I had been accepted. The price is very reasonable, £770 GBP this year. I would throughly recommend it.

Certificate of Continuing Education in Egyptology
This four year, part-time course provides opportunity for serious academic study of the history and civilization of Ancient Egypt from c3100BC to the Arab Conquest, together with a grounding in Middle Egyptian Hieroglyphs. The programme is led by Professor Rosalie David OBE, a scholar of international standing and Director of the University's KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology.

The programme is offered as a taught course as well as through online distance learning.

For further information please email egypt.cce@manchester.ac.uk

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Abydos outside the Seti I temple, 1st Dynasty burials

OK I am massive lucky…..and then some. I thought I had got permission to visit the Archaic period burials at Abydos but when we got there it was disaster. Having produced my permissions, these were dismissed, I phoned this, that and the other, not good enough, no answer, phone switched off. I had spent 30 minutes arguing. Then I produced my ace in the hole and got hold of Dr Sabry, Dr Zahi’s deputy. He was marvellous and within 30 seconds we had our precious permission. One phone call and he arranged it all. I was totally made up as I had tried to get there before and failed. As we were doing these burials for our first essay it was really important. Assigned an inspector and a police man we went off. Our driver was amazing as this was a desert road more suited to a four wheel driver than our rather nice a/c mini bus. But our driver did it.

We went to the area of the burial of the early dynastic tombs. The area is known as Umm el-Gaab (Qaab), mother of pots and the amount of pottery there left by devoted pilgrims to the area was stunning. The wonderful inspector Mohammed Naguid took us everywhere. He had warned the German expedition we were coming and a rather stern member warned us we could visit, no stepping on mudbrick, if we wanted to go down shoes off. Harda ya Basha (yes SIR!!!). So we got to see the open tombs. Omg they were fantastic. Den was the first use of a stair case and has a pink granite floor. Totally huge and the granite floor was so smooth.

Djer was being excavated and showed what looked like burnt walls, an enclosed area which might have been an early serdab. It was stunning to think these were 5000 years old

Then we got to Khasekhemwy’s funerary enclosure, also known as Shent el-Zebib. Wow, double wow and triple wow. I could not believe it. It was huge, magnificent, amazing, and totally impressive. Although experts disagree about the origins of the step pyramid enclosure, some saying it came from nowhere and others that it had its origin in these enclosures. I agree with the later having seen this for myself.

Then the inspector suggested we went to the New Kingdom temple of Ramses II, built on older buildings. This is known as Kom el Sultan. Our visit really showed me how large the Abydos cemeteries were and how important the entire area was. You get an entirely different idea when you just visit the Seti I temple, with no idea of this vast area behind.

I also had a quick look at the House of Companions which is a simple place to stay there. It is not sophisticated or luxurious but it is clean. So somewhere to stay in Abydos

Birds at Medinet Habu

My photo of the problem at the Ramesseum prompted one of my readers to send this photo of Medinet Habu. You can see underneath the erosion caused by the droppings. I do hope someone is paying attention to this and some kind of solution is being worked on.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Karnak the Quintessential Sacred City - Sylvie Cauville-Colin

I was very lucky this week as the lecturer Sylvie Cauville-Colin very kindly gave me her entire presentation including her script. So below is her actual script. If anyone would like the entire presentation including all the slides please email me and I will send then a copy. BTW it is 22MB

It might be strange to hear me talk about Karnak, because I am from the future, the time of the fall of Egypt — as some ancient scholars used to say.
You all know that the past is buried under the foundations of the buildings.
But, I hope you will see that the future (I mean the Graeco-Roman period) provides the light necessary to help us study the remains of the buildings.
One can’t explain the offerings in Karnak, Luxor or Medinet Habu without the texts of the last pharaohs — whether they be Ptolemies or Caesars.

I want to share with you my personal understanding of Karnak
— with the help of Edfu and Dendara, and with the help of my favorite gods, Osiris and Hathor.
Karnak is certainly the largest and most important temple in Egypt, not the most beautiful but it is, above all, the most sacred,
as if the gods were still with us here, in the earth, in the walls, in the wind.
At the beginning of Egypt’s history, the political power was in the north, in the hands of the pharaohs and the priests of Memphis and Heliopolis.

All temples glorified the royal power, a human king in the New Kingdom, a god in the Ptolemaic time.
The purpose of the priests was political proclamation of the legitimate royal power, whether referring to a pharaoh in Karnak, or Horus in Edfu.
In Edfu, Horus is the son of Re and the heir of Osiris. He inherited his power from the three dynastic gods : Re-Horakhty from Heliopolis, Ptah from Memphis and Amun from Thebes.
In Edfu, the three gods of the three capital cities are presented all along the temple walls, from the hypostyle to the Heliopolitan coronation chapel whose name is the “throne of Re”.
Ptolemy gave wine to Re, myrrh to Ptah, and Maât to Amun.

The offerings were not for the three of them, but they were to be given back to Horus during the crowning ceremonies.

The king received milk during his baptism, and wine for his crowning, as well as myrrh and Maât — the symbol of his duty, honesty and integrity.
Even if Ptolemy is a khawaga, he is still a pharaoh, the heir of Menes.
He is blessed by Heliopolis, Memphis, Thebes.
There are many examples of the impact/domination of the three capital cities, in every temple.

For examples
The temple of Sethi the first at Abydos has seven chambers:
- the axial one for Amun, beneath Re-Horakhty from Heliopolis, one chapel for the king, between Ptah and the marvelous memphite chambers.
- Behind the first row of chambers, lies the Osiris complex which contains yet another royal chamber between those of Horus and Isis. Abydos is a temple for Osiris, of course, but Thebes, Heliopolis and Memphis have the best places — in a very subtle way.
All of this surrounding the pharaoh!

- My final example is in Karnak, during the period of decline: on the gate of the second pylon
Amun is dominant on the outside of the gate of Ptolemy the sixth , but in the recess of the door, one can see Ptah, Re and Osiris.

Very few temples were dedicated to Ptah with the exception of the temple in Karnak. My personal belief is that the temple of Ptah is actually an exact representation of the city of Memphis.
Built by Thutmosis the third, it was dedicated to Ptah and Hathor.
In the same period (Thutmosis III), the core of the temple is reserved for Amun. Great-Temple-of-Maât was his name, for Maât, for Thebes.
In the Akhmenu, Great-Temple was for Re-Horakhty from Heliopolis.
In light of what we know about Edfu, why not imagine that the coronation was celebrated in the three capital places, Memphis-Heliopolis-Thebes as early as the New Kingdom period.
The King received myrrh in the temple of Ptah (we can see this offering inside the temple)
maât in the Temple-of-Maât in Ipetsout,
and, wine in the heliopolitan enclosure of the Akhmenu.

What exactly is Akhmenu? The name means that the monument, menu, makes someone akh. Akh is a special spiritual state.
For example, the small osirian figure made in corn (nebou) turned to gold (nebou): Osiris is akh, like alchemy. Sakhou.
In the Akhmenu, King-Sokar became Amun and Re,
like a transmutation, an initiation rite - from the old king-god to the bright sun,
from Memphis to Heliopolis.
In the so-called Botanical Garden, the king was in a higher state of consciousness: I mean that he was able to see hidden qualities of the rare plant species.He had more knowledge than the common people, than the priests. It was a way to show his superiority, his difference.

What about Karnak before the Middle Kingdom?
Most scholars believe that Amenemhat was responsible for establishing Karnak as a new religious capital. But, why did Amenemhat choose the Fayum as a capital and not Thebes?
The architectural program of Sesostris the first in Karnak was perfect (as the book of Luc Gabolde).
How was it possible if there was nothing before?
Only the heliopolitan priests could create something so perfect, so imposing.
Amun: who is he? One can hear him, but can’t see him,
he is the breath, the wind, the air, the ether.
He received a part of Ptah-Sokar, the fertilizing power of Min,
the strength of Montu the warrior, and the sun disk of Re.

Egyptian people gave a great value to words, because, for them, it is more than a pun, it is a part of god, the mind was life.
From the first king Menes who reigned in Mennefer (Memphis), from Menu / Min to Mentchou / Montu, the permanence men, Imen / Amun was in everything, and in every prayer,
Imen men em ikhet nebet = Amun is immanent in everything.

Monthu and Hathor were the most ancient gods of Thebes, the two of them were worshipped in the temple of Ptah in the Amun enclosure.
There, from the beginning of the New Kingdom to the last Ptolemy, Hathor was the first lady of Thebes (heryt-tep Ouaset).
In the other side of Karnak, in the temple of Khonsu, Hathor was the one who resides in Benenet.
Draw a straight line between the gate of Khonsu and the gate near the temple of Ptah, you will have a south-north axis, like the path of the Nile.
It is a route of the procession for the New Year. This line crosses through the hypostyle hall, from the south door to the north corner.

On the south wall, one can see the theogamy or holy birth in a very summarized manner: Khnum is modeling a form on his wheel pottery, Hathor is breast-feeding the small child.
On all of the walls, the king’s crowning is always facing north, towards the Ptah’s temple for the memphite coronation, in the hand of Hathor, daughter of Re.
In the north part of the hypostyle (on the east wall), is the great royal ritual of the New Year (with the ceremonial candle). Directly opposite that, on the west wall, we see fifteen Hathors in position for the numerous ceremonies of the coronation.

• South-north, royal and hathoric way.
• East-west, royal and hathoric way, too.
From the obelisk of Thutmosis III to Deir el-Bahari, there is a line which starts in bakhu/east to manu/west.

Bakh, which means
sacred bull Bucchis”,
is also a verb for “birth”.
From the birth to the death…

The name of the unic/lone/only obelisk is tekhen ouâty, which, later, will become a name for Harendotes (Hornedjitef), the son and heir of Osiris.
So the obelisk is like a figure of the king, Horus and pharaoh.
The west bank is the douat, the realm of the dead, the estate of Hathor,
the belly of the cow which the Re’s boat crosses from morning to night,
Hathor is the royal womb.

The part of the domain dedicated to Khonsu was called benenet.
But sometimes the name is written like benben, like the old stone which was worshipped in the temple of benben in Heliopolis, like the pyramidion on the top of the obelisk, or the obelisk itself — or himself, because he was the god Horus.
Ben/benben means also : to flow ; benben/benen : sexual activity ; benty : breast ; benen : ball, egg.
Something round or straight, it is the power of creation, the genesis.

Benenet, the name of the south-west part of Karnak, was the nucleus of the sacred land, where the first light emerged.
So, what was Karnak before the Middle Kingdom? That is the question. Now, there are no evidences. Till now, maybe, but we are just at the beginning of the excavations in Karnak: to think that we have excavated 10 per cent so far!
In the ground of Ipesout, urban pottery was found, and it was concluded that, in the old time, Karnak was only a very small town.
Is it really possible to imagine that there was nothing there before the Middle Kingdom? Then, a few years later, this wonderful place of legitimate power?
Anyway, I just want to share with you two “heretic” hypotheses:

What if the irst nucleus, the first sacred place, was not Ipetsout, but Benenet?
The power of Heliopolis, of Re, was unquestionable, no doubt.
The national temples, like Edfu or Dendara, were in the hand of Heliopolis and conceived with old texts kept in the library of Memphis-Heliopolis.
We must never forget that the conflict between Re and Osiris was the foundation of the egyptian religion.
And if Amun was not the first god of Karnak?
Osiris, from the beginning (till today) was the most popular, wasn’t he ?
And if he was there in Karnak before Amun ? And if the priests of Heliopolis decided to reduce the influence of Osiris and imagine a new god, like a puzzle: several pieces of different gods, under the power of Heliopolis.
Amun was quite an enigmatic and hidden god, for anybody.
And if so, where was the first temple of Osiris?

And now, the birthplace of Osiris is just next to the temple of Khonsu.
The current name is Temple of Opet.
Who knows what it means?
The different meanings of Opet (Ipetsout, Temple of Opet, Opet of the south, the feast of Opet) are rather confusing, and even more so for the average tourists.
Ipet is the goddess of the temple, like Ouaset, in broad outline, a form of Hathor.
In the graeco-roman period, Ipetouret is not the same, she is Nut, Osiris’ mother.
Per-Ipet-ouret is a Temple of Nut, for Osiris.
In few months, we will witness the rebirth of Osiris, thanks to the restoration and to the generous assistance, the evergetism, of Mme Guichard.

There is more about the life of Osiris in the ptolemaic texts than in the New Kingdom texts. It is said that the five children of Geb and Nut (Osiris, Horus the great, Seth, Isis and Nephthys) were born during the five day period that we call the epagomenal days which follow the three-hundred-sixty-day. Their respective birthplaces were: Thebes, Qous, Ombos, Dendara and Diospolis.
Five places, five days, the most dangerous days…

The osirian chapels of Dendara provide the most complete documentation about his birth and his death.
For instance, Amun-Re said to Osiris: Your mother gave birth to you in Thebes.
After his death, Osiris was embalmed in Memphis, and buried in Heliopolis.
So in Karnak, where is the Necropolis of Osiris? In the north-east.
Where was he born? In the south-west.
That sounds strange, doesn’t it? It is the exact opposite of all we know, that the sun rises in the east, and he sets in the west.
The texts of Dendara say exactly, he lay (htp) next to (r-gs) the Great-Temple of Heliopolis. The cemetery of Osiris is located next to the Great-Temple of the Akhmenu, that is exactly what is written in the osirian texts of Dendara.

Another text from the ptolemaic period, in the temple of Khonsu, tell us that Osiris appeared as a light next to Benenet (wbn m Òww r-gs bnnt). And it is true!
So he was born and lay next to (r-gs) the temple, in Karnak (the nucleus), and another in Heliopolis, as if by magic, also in Karnak in the heliopolitan temple of Akhmenu.
Karnak is a miniature of Egypt: Osiris was born in the south = in Thebes, next to the nucleus of creation, mummified in Memphis and buried next to the Great-Temple of Heliopolis.
Unfortunately, I won’t have enough time to say much about the Temple of Osiris. But, the expression “Re-Amun is called Osiris” shows the final reconciliation between them.
The Temple of Osiris is the result of two thousand years of theological reflection.

Re, Amun, Ptah, Osiris, Hathor: all great gods, all in Karnak, for such a long time. What for?
We find the answer in the prayers to Amun.
For example, the well known hymn in the temple of Hibis goes:
Amun, you are the sky, you are the earth, you are the douat, you are the flood, you are the air between them.
And in the Leiden hymn to Amun:
It is a trinity of the gods: Amun, Re, Ptah. The only one whose name is hidden is Amun; his head is Re, his body is Ptah. Their cities will remain for ever, Thebes, Heliopolis and Memphis, for ever.
The spirit (ba) of Amun is in the sky, his temple is in Thebes for his statues, the necropolis is for his mummy who is in the douat.
The sky of Thebes is Heliopolis.

Well, now, we see Karnak from an other perspective.
Heliopolis in the east, Memphis in the north, Thebes in the south.
Two axes with Hathor-Nut and the pharaohs:
- One path for the coronation of the New Year with Hathor.
- One for the life of the king, from his birth to his death.
The head of Amun is in Heliopolis, his foot in the west bank and he is revived by the flooding of the Nile-Osiris.
Amun is the Hidden one, and is everything, made of four gods:
Re, Ptah, Osiris and Hathor,
he is the fifth element, the quintessential god.
And Karnak is a miniature model of Egypt and a microcosm of egyptian theology, a sacred place for the essential god and royalty.

I am aware of the heretic nature of my particular point of view,
I don’t want to talk you into my hypothesis, but, may be, you will think further…
I hope that my presentation has not disturbed your own ideas and beliefs.
I want to thank the moudir Mansour Boraik and Ibrahim Soliman, who were kind enough to welcome me to their New Kingdom.
And thank you all for your patience and attention.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Pigeons at the Ramesseum

Just a bit worrying to see all these pigeons at the Ramesseum. I was told that it was the result of bird flu when many people let their pigeons, which they raised for food, go. Whatever the reason there are now a huge number and we know the damage this does to stone work. I wonder if any one is looking at this and if there is a proposed solution.

Picture courtsey of Michael Campbell Smith

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Petamenophis photo

The blog looked a little dull so here is a photo to cheer you up. It was a block in the door way of Petamenophis

Monday, 1 December 2008

Hurghada Convoy to end

Apparently you can now travel any time during daylight hours. What this actually going to mean will wait an see. For example can you travel direct to other places along the coast or you still have to use the road t Safaga. And what it is like coming back. But it is a great step forward and the sooner they get rid of the Luxor Abydos and Luxor Aswan convoy the happier my guests will be. If you could do a trip to Aswan stopping at Tod, Moalla, Esna, Edfu, El Kab, Gebel Silsila, Kom Ombo wouldn't that be so much better. And to not all arrive in Edfu at the same time Please soon